May 6, 2002 

Inspiration for the day

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Father Gabriel, ‘Thruppadam’, Nedumangad, Thiruvananthapuram 695541


Father Gabriel resigned as priest of the Nedumangad Bethany Church to devote fulltime to social work.  He later founded ‘Thruppadam’, an institution which employs around 500 poor women in small enterprises and houses.  ‘Sadanam’, the poor home attached to Thruppadam supports more than 50 unwanted and invalid souls.

“I don’t do things according to a plan.  Everything just happens as if by magic”, says Gabriel.  He cites the example of a friend, an artist from Australia, who visited his place once.  On seeing him paint on dry banyan leaf, some girls in the area insisted on learning the art from him.

This started a profitable aesthetic enterprise where 200 poor women create works of art on banyan leaf.  This is then showcased in a card and sold in the market as ‘banyan leaf card’.  It is a hit with foreign tourists.

A foreign lady who unexpectedly visited Thruppadam once, offered to teach bracelet embroidery to the inmates.  “Thanks to her, we have around 200 girls who are experts in the art of bracelet making today”, he says.

Thruppadam’s agarbathi unit employs another 100 women.

He employs only women in his institutions.  “I insist on having girls here.  By providing them with a job, the whole family is better benefited.  Moreover, the work at Thruppadam is a ‘carry home’ job.  Every week a girl is given a fixed quota of work, which is to be completed and returned on a particular day on the next week.  This arrangement allows women to attend to their domestic chores without hindrance.  It also satisfies Gabriel’s ideal: ‘every home a temple, every home a workshop.’



Courtesy: R. Ayyappan, The New Indian Express

Contributed by: Administrator


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